A celebration of an iconic marque
A celebration of an iconic marque
Foundation and Early History
Coming of Age
356 911 912 914 924 928 944 959 968
Panamera 918 Spyder
Prototypes and the Future
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© 2016 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without the permission of the publisher. Printed and bound in the United States of America. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file with the Library of Congress. Series ISBN: 978-1-4222-3275-0 Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4222-3281-1 ebook ISBN: 978-1-4222-8519-0 Written by: Jed Paine Images courtesy of Magic Car Pics, Corbis and Shutterstock
Introduction Few car manufacturers can
“I couldn’t find the sports car of my dreams,
so I built it myself.” Ferdinand Porsche
boast such a rich history clearly demonstrating the evolutionary path of their success. For Porsche, they are able to claim the title of being the largest sports car producer in the world, possess an enviable sporting heritage, and are the creator of one of automotive history’s most iconic cars: the legendary 911. This publication explores the foundation of the company, delves into the history of Porsche and their contribution to Germany’s war effort during the Second World War, and uncovers their brief foray into the field of agricultural vehicles. Porsche have long since maintained the philosophy that technology in their production vehicles derives from competition models, an ethos that is evident by their use of turbocharged engines, kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS), and Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission, to name but a few. Excelling at endurance racing, hillclimb events, and rallying has put Porsche in good stead to develop cars that offer a powerful and thrilling drive. From the 356 to the 918 Spyder, Porsche have constantly looked for innovative ideas and technology to be leaders in their field and secure their future.
ABOVE: Dr. Ferdinand Porsche in 1940. OPPOSITE: Adolf Hitler examines the first Beetle, designed by Ferdinand Porsche who is standing by the car. RIGHT: A Porsche 911 Turbo races in the V Historic Rally in Avila, Spain.
Foundation and Early History
In 1931 Ferdinand Porsche founded his design consultancy company: Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH. The Porsche Engineering Office, based in Stuttgart, was established to provide a design service for various means of transportation including airplanes, trains, boats, and, of course, motor vehicles. The first project arrived from the Wanderer Company – to design a 1.7-liter six-cylinder 35 bhp engine. As Dr. Porsche did not want the
Wanderer contract to appear as the first, and to avoid any doubts that he lacked experience in this field, he labeled it the Porsche Type 7 and continued to number the subsequent cars in consecutive order. This explains why there aren’t any early designed models that are labeled one to six. Wanderer soon returned with more business, and requested a more powerful engine: the result was a 2.0-liter six-cylinder 40 bhp engine. In the
August of 1931, Ferdinand Porsche registered a patent for the torsion bar suspension – a development that would be used internationally for several decades and is considered a significant achievement in automotive history. In 1932, the Auto Union Company (which would later become the present-day Audi) took over the car division of Wanderer in a merger between Horch, Audi, and DKW. Impressed by the
Type 7 designed by Porsche, the Auto Union Company later asked him and his team to design a new Grand Prix car. Adolf Hitler had announced two new programs: the People’s Car, which would later become the Volkswagen Beetle, and a state-sponsored motor racing program, which required a German firm to develop cars in the new 1653-lb formula. They created the 16-cylinder 1653-lb Auto Union P racing car, which set three world records in 1934 and was one of the most successful racing cars of the inter-war era. The mid-engined configuration pioneered the trend for modern racing cars and is
still used in Formula One to the present day. Porsche also designed a sleek- looking coupe named the Type 8: it boasted an eight-cylinder 3.25-liter engine and Ferdinand Porsche used it for many years for his own personal use. The Auto Union project provided Porsche with an exciting opportunity, but since money was required to keep the company afloat they became heavily involved in the design of military vehicles during the lead up to the Second World War, resulting in the creation of the Kübelwagen and the Schwimmwagen. Translated as “bucket car,” the Volkswagen
Kübelwagen was an inexpensive lightweight military transport vehicle based on the Beetle that was first created in 1938. Experienced military coachbuilder, Trutz, constructed the bodywork, and by November 1938 developmental testing of the first vehicle, known as the Type 62, commenced. The Kübelwagen handled rough terrain surprisingly well, despite its lack of four-wheel drive capabilities, and overall it was well received by military commanders who requested only two changes: to reduce its lowest speed from 5 mph to 2.5 mph to adjust to the pace of marching soldiers, and to further improve its off-road performance.
The Type 82 was subsequently launched, incorporating the required changes. Extensive testing on snow and ice was necessary to ensure it would be able to cope with
the European winters. The smooth flat underbody enabled the vehicle to steadily propel itself along when the wheels sank into snow, mud, or sand.
The VW Type 128 and 166 Schwimmwagen was an amphibious four-wheel drive off-roader, which utilized the engine and mechanicals of the Type 86 Kübelwagen.
ABOVE: A 1943 Volkswagen Schwimmwagen. RIGHT: A Cisitalia
race car designed by Ferdinand Porsche.
However, the flat floorpan chassis that worked effectively for the Kübelwagen was unsuitable for movement through water, leading to some initial issues with the prototype (Type 128). The successful Type 166 went on to be one of the most numerous mass- produced amphibious vehicles with more than 14,265 manufactured. During the five and a half years of war, the company had no choice but to work for their country – designing and building whatever vehicles were required. Their loyalty to their country led them to submit designs for heavy tanks, including the Elefant tank destroyer and the Panzer VIII Maus super- heavy tank. In November 1945, Professor Ferdinand Porsche was asked to redesign the Volkswagen Beetle in a “more French” style. However, disagreements between the French government and the car manufacturing firm led by Jean Pierre Peugeot meant the project never made it off the ground. The French authorities arrested Professor Ferdinand Porsche, his son Ferry, and the company lawyer (who was also Ferdinand’s son-in- law) Anton Piëch on December 15, 1945. Ferry was released soon after, his family paying the bail of 500,000 francs that was requested. He moved to Austria where he managed the company with his elder sister Louisa. They set to work on two new automobiles; they constructed a racing car for the Cisitalia racing team and designed their own car: the Porsche 356. Meanwhile, Ferdinand was taken to a prison in Dijon; he remained there for 22 months in squalid conditions and his health deteriorated. It was not until 1947, at the age of 73, that he was released, along with Anton Piëch, when Ferry had gathered the
funds to pay the bail. The Porsche family returned to Stuttgart in 1949 in order to accommodate the production of the popular 356, and in November 1950 Ferdinand Porsche made his last visit to the Wolfsburg Volkswagen factory. The factory was full of activity and Ferdinand is said to have been delighted with the massive production of the Beetle that he had designed. The family set about creating an emblem that would represent the company and become a worldwide-recognized crest. Since 1952 all Porsche cars have been branded with the iconic logo on the bonnet. Early models sported a neat silver script announcing the Porsche name. Professor Ferdinand
RIGHT: Rows of completed Volkswagen Beetles sit outside the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg. BELOW: A Porsche 356A proudly displaying the Porsche logo.
Porsche and his son Ferry set about creating a company emblem that would exude a powerful image – an icon that proudly acknowledged its Stuttgart roots. Countless drafts were produced before the final crest was designed. The Porsche shield is based on the coat of arms of the Free People’s State of Württemberg (Weimar-era Württemberg coat of arms), featuring antlers and the
black and red stripes. The arms of Stuttgart are placed at the center, depicting a black horse “rampant” in reference to the city’s beginnings as a stud farm. The appearance of the horse also represents power and forward motion. The 356 was the first car to wear the Porsche crest, first appearing on the center of the steering wheel and later on the bonnet. Unfortunately it was
something that Ferdinand Porsche didn’t get to see before his death on January 30, 1951, aged 75. Following his father’s death, Ferry drove the company on. A massive contract with Volkswagen benefited Porsche greatly: for every Beetle sold, Porsche would receive a share of the profits. Demand for the 356 was still high, and despite the initial planned production of
only 1,500 units, Porsche went on to build more than 78,000 356s over the next 17 years. Their involvement in racing also increased, following a victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1951. It was the start of a new era in which Porsche would promote and enhance their brand, securing a respected status among car manufacturers and enthusiasts alike.
Coming of Age
In 1934 Ferdinand Porsche developed the first Porsche diesel motor for the Porsche tractor. It may come as a surprise that he briefly dabbled in the field of agricultural vehicles during the company’s early years. He produced three prototype tractors that year that included hydraulic coupling between engine and transmission. Although development of an air- cooled diesel engine was underway it was not yet ready for production, so the three prototypes all featured petrol engines. In 1937 there was an official order from the German government to develop a “Volks-Tractor,” so while developing the “people’s car,” Professor Ferdinand Porsche was also designing the “people’s tractor.” Numerous tests were carried out
on the air-cooled diesel engine and by the early 1950s four basic models had been designed in one-, two-, three-, and four-cylinder versions with a power output ranging from 14-44 bhp. A four-wheel drive tractor was also on the drawing board as early as 1946. Following the end of the Second World War, Porsche signed licensing agreements with Allgaier GmbH and Hofherr Schrantz, allowing them to use their modern and uniquely designed engine. The result was the creation of the Allgaier – System Porsche and the Hofherr Schrantz – System Porsche. In 1959 Mannesmann AG bought the license for the Porsche diesel engine and the Allgaier tractor design and went on to produce over 125,000 Porsche-Diesel tractors.
ABOVE: The Porsche Standard Star 219.
The last Porsche tractors were built in 1963: a date that signaled the start of a new era in the history of their road production cars. In 1963 a car designed by Ferry’s eldest son, Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche, made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It was the start of an epic journey for one of automotive history’s most renowned vehicles: the 911. For five decades it has been the most significant development within the Porsche brand, becoming an iconic sports car that has continued to raise the benchmark for performance and desirability in the automotive industry. Few companies can boast such a remarkable vehicle that has continued to evolve throughout its lifetime.
Drawings of the car can be traced back as far as 1959 as it was developed to replace the 356 as a more superior model in terms of style, performance, and comfort. It was originally named the 901, but French manufacturer Peugeot objected to the use of a three- number name that used a zero in the middle (in France they had exclusive rights to car names using this formula). From that point on it was publicly known as the 911. The first examples of the car went on sale in the US with a retail price of $6,500. The 911 is the most developed sports car in history, and in its early years Porsche were not afraid to break the rules in order to create their masterpiece. Despite the belief
ABOVE: An early 911 brochure from 1965.
that the engine should be positioned in front of the rear axle, Porsche placed its flat-six air-cooled engine close to the rear taillights. The distinctive shape of the 911 is instantly recognizable and was based on the general shape of the 356; its arched body and supreme build quality have been a tribute to German engineering. Although reminiscent of the 356, the 911 body was more aerodynamic than its predecessor. In terms of performance the 911 gave a thrilling ride; the early cars of 1963 were able to offer an engaging relationship with the driver. Impressive acceleration coupled with challenging handling characteristics gave the 911 an edge over its rivals. It was a powerful car that demanded respect. The flat-six air- cooled engine offered breathtaking performance, delivering 130 bhp and a top speed of 130 mph. Turbo editions of the 911 featured wide wheel arches and a large rear spoiler (often referred to as the ducktail). The powerful engine could produce 260 bhp and the cars were known for their exhilarating performance. The Porsche 911 has already celebrated its 50 th anniversary and still remains one of the world’s leading sports cars. Their enduring formula for success is a testament to Porsche’s commitment to developing and improving the model. It’s no secret that the 911 has a strong racing heritage and Porsche’s involvement in motorsport has influenced the car’s evolution, continuously testing the technology developed for track and applying it to their production cars. Throughout its extensive lifetime the 911 has enjoyed success in racing, rallying, and other automotive competitions. Naturally aspirated 911 Carrera RSRs had regular victories during the 1970s at major world championship
sports car races including the Nürburgring, Sebring, Daytona, and Targa Florio. More than 50 years on, the legacy of the 911 continues – offering an iconic body style, versatile and exhilarating performance, all to the tune of Porsche’s unique engine sound.
ABOVE: A Porsche 911 (964) Turbo. OPPOSITE: A Porsche Carrera RSR at the Nürburgring in 1973.
356 The 356 was the first production automobile to bear the Porsche name, and more than 78,000 cars were sold during its 17 years in production. Despite the shattered industrial infrastructure that Germany was experiencing, the post-war creation established an excellent reputation for the company. They had relocated to a former sawmill at Gmünd in Austria where they had set to work on designing the prototype 356. It relied heavily on mechanicals from Volkswagen (the Beetle in particular) and the design initially featured a tubular spaceframe chassis, aluminum body, and a mid- mounted 1131 cc engine capable of producing 35 bhp. Before the prototype was completed they had already finalized plans for a convertible and hardtop version, which would feature a simple box-section chassis, and placement of the gearbox and engine would change to make the new 356 a rear-engined car. Only 50 Gmünd models were built and each one was completed to owner specification, making each individual vehicle unique. Orders for the 356 kept arriving and the basic assembly facilities at the former sawmill were no longer adequate; it was time for Porsche to return to Stuttgart. In 1950 they released their first official Porsche 356 (the Stuttgart model), which had many similarities to its predecessor. Known as the Pre-A, its body was made of steel due to the lack of aluminum welding facilities at the Reutter factory. The Porsche name was neatly positioned in silver script writing on the nose of the car; it wasn’t until 1954 that it carried the iconic badge. The Pre-A initially
Engine Size Cylinders 0-60 mph Top Speed
91 mph Power Output 55 bhp Transmission Manual Gears 4 speed Length
152.4 in (3870 mm) 65.4 in (1660 mm)
Width Height Weight
1830 lb (830 kg)
Wheelbase 82.7 in (2100 mm) (Specifications refer to 1953 356 pre-A )
* denotes unavailable on the Porsche website
featured a compact 1.1-liter engine that produced 40 bhp, but customer demand for more power and improved performance led to a 1.3-liter engine with a displacement
of 1286 cc becoming available in 1951. The 356 experienced rapid evolution during its early years in production and by 1954 modifications to the engine resulted
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